Bank warning: Santander rushes to recover £130million after accidentally paying customers

Andy Webb warns banks' interest rate rises may not be beneficial

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Some 75,000 people and businesses were incorrectly paid twice by the bank who were originally supposed to receive a one-off or as part of a previously arranged payment.

The accident saw money for the second payment being removed from Satander’s own reserves, which had led to the financial institution taking action.

At face value for those affected, customers were paid twice from their employer’s account as a result of the accident.

However, it is believed the bank will find it difficult to get its money back from customers who have accounts open with other organisations and building societies, such as HSBC and Barclays.

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A warning has been issued as it is illegal for customers to keep or spend the money they have been accidentally given under the Theft Act 1968.

Those who choose to do so will be charged with “retaining wrongful credit” under the act and may be taken to court.

Concerns have been raised that it may be already too late as many customers may have spent the money as part of the holiday festivities.


Santander is discussing the error with Pay UK, the body responsible for managing payment systems in the UK, while it continues to recover its lost cash.

Furthermore, the financial institution has reached out to its rivals for assistance to address this issue.

Among those rival banks include Barclays, HSBC, NatWest, Co-operative Bank and Virgin Money.

As part of the process, the bank has been utilising “bank error recovery” to go to various banks or directly to recipients of the cash to get their money back.

It is yet unknown how banks will respond to customers who have already spent the money, before being notified of the error.

A Santander spokeswoman said: “We’re sorry that due to a technical issue some payments from our corporate clients were incorrectly duplicated on the recipients’ accounts

“None of our clients were at any point left out of pocket as a result and we are taking steps to recover the duplicated transactions in line with industry processes.’

“The duplicated payments were the result of a scheduling issue, which we quickly identified and rectified.

“The recipients and purpose of payment will have varied among clients but could have included wages or supplier payments.”

Speaking to the BBC, one payroll manager affected by the accident said: “It ruined my holiday period because I thought I’d paid out hundreds of thousands in error – I thought I had done something wrong.

“I thought it was just me and that I was going to get in trouble at work. It’s just a complete shambles. How they are going to recover it, I just don’t know.”

Time will tell whether Santander will be able to recover all of the £130million they have lost due to their mistake.

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